At last week’s council meeting the City of Vista City Council voted to sever its contract with a merchant’s association that was charged with managing assessment fees to help promote and improve the city’s downtown area.
The termination of the contract with the Vista Village Business Association known as the Central Vista Business Improvement District, an assessment district that the merchants pay into. City officials expressed concern that the Vista Village Business Association wasn’t living up to the responsibilities it was tasked with which included planning events downtown.
“They’ve been a group of volunteers working with the best intentions of downtown at heart,” Vista Economic Development Director Kevin Ham. “However, they have not been able to perform with several (tasks) we need them to do.”
The business association was scheduled to provide a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting with their activities and accomplishments, but no one showed up. The council members felt that the business association was in over its head in managing the assessment fees.
“It has not been a good business model, and it has not been successful,” Councilwoman Amanda Rigby said.
The Vista Village Business Association has been in operation since the late 1980s. Merchants have paid into the assessment district since the 1990s.
Over the years the city held hearings to take comments from local merchants about their support for — or objections to — the mandatory fees. Some said they appreciated the support, others said they didn’t think the events benefited their particular business.
In the past the city assessment fees have been managed alternately by the city and the business association. For the past three years, the city has contracted with the business association to handle the funds, but council members ultimately decided to pull the plug on the contract for the current fiscal year.
The WinterFest event held on Sunday will be the last scheduled event for the Vista Village business Association. City staff will take over any planned events or projects.